During times of need, Summerlanders have received help from NeighbourLink, a volunteer organization made up of representatives from the community’s churches.
On Saturday morning, the work of this organization was celebrated at the NeighbourLink Week Windup Breakfast, held at the Summerland Seniors Village.
Mirjana Kolmjenovic, coordinator of the organization, said NeighbourLink received 320 requests for help in 2015 and provided 1,967 hours of service.
The majority of the requests have been for transportation help, primarily for seniors who need help getting to and from medical appointments.
Other support includes minor home repairs, snow shovelling and temporary visits to those who would otherwise be on their own.
Kolmjenovic said the transportation needs tend to be ongoing, but the other services are often given to those who have an immediate need rather than an ongoing need.
There are 45 volunteers involved in direct services and another 45 community volunteers with NeighbourLink. Those dealing directly with recipients must undergo screening and criminal record checks.
Kolmjenovic said the effects for the recipients of NeighbourLink’s service are “sometimes transformational.”
Two years ago, Judy Kurulak’s daughter, Oceana, received a bicycle through NeighbourLink. The bicycle was donated by Your Dollar Store with More and the helmet was donated by the Summerland Kiwanis Club. NeighbourLink arranged the recipient.
Since that time, Judy Kurulak has gone on to enrol in a Community Support Worker and Social Support Worker program, which she will complete in November.
NeighbourLink Summerland was started 12 years ago. It is based on a World Vision initiative, which had been used in American inner cities.
World Vision no longer organizes NeighbourLink, but the structural model is still in place.
To contact NeighbourLink Summerland, please call 250-404-4673.